My career in the arts began after taking my Master’s degree when I entered a multi-disciplined internship in the conservation and restoration of Asian art works on paper and silk. I learned metalworking as a part of this internship and continued developing my skills in this area while doing my restoration work at a studio in California.
A desire to explore color in metalworking led me to vitreous enamel, and I found what became my medium of choice.
Principally, the work I do is comprised mainly of three-dimensional metal (copper, fine silver or gold) shapes to which I apply vitreous enamel. Each piece may be made of multiple components. These shapes sawn from flat metal sheet, then raised into their three-dimensional forms with a series of hammers, nylon mallets, wooden blocks and metal stakes. I refer to the techniques used in this process as micro shell forming and anticlastic raising. The results are small hollow ware forms, in my case inspired by nature, that are then enameled. Each component may have up to seven firings to achieve the desired colors or gradations of color. The enamel is applied primarily by dry sifting it onto a slightly viscous light adhesive. Finally, all components are assembled into a completed piece and usually given a final firing.
What may not be obvious to a casual viewer would be the multiple applications of colored glass to achieve the final affect, such as depth of color, subtlety of gradations of colors or colors slightly visible through other colors. All of these are the result of much practice, experimentation and sometimes, if repeatable, happy accidents. Colored glass does not behave like paint, and color effects one might easily produce with paint must be rethought and worked out within the parameters and limitations of a completely different medium.
My current body of work is the result of a desire to expand my skills in the application of enamel to three-dimensional objects, specifically the raised forms I have been developing, especially the organic and floral forms inspired by my garden. The better I got at making these forms, the more I felt they needed the color of enamels. Thus my work evolved from more or less flattened forms, or slightly raised two-dimensional forms with an emphasis on color relationships and color theory to more representational, narrative work that more completely exploits my media. I plan to continue this work with an emphasis on exploring the various textures that can be achieved with glass enamel in this context and what those can add.